DENOSA welcomes the approval of NHI Bill by Cabinet

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) warmly welcomes the approval of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill by Cabinet as announced by Minister in the Presidency earlier yesterday, and hopes the parliamentary processes of passing it into an Act will expedite so that all people can finally get access to quality healthcare services regardless of their socio-economic well-being. DENOSA hopes the Health Budget Vote, to be delivered by Health Minister in Parliament today, will provide a clear outline of the implementation process as well as provide solutions to what have become hindering nodes to its implementation. DENOSA reiterates its long-standing support of the NHI with its noble intentions and calls for its immediate implementation without any further delays so that patients and communities could have access to Universal Health Coverage.

There is serious work that still needs to be done today to lay the ground for what will become a successful implementation of NHI. Key to this work should be in the following critical areas:
1. Strengthen and improve Human Resource Planning.
a) Minister needs to deal with the shortage of nurses in our hospitals and clinics, especially those in the rural areas, whereas there are hundreds of unemployed nurses sitting at home. Nurses who have completed their community service are also piling up at home and wait for years to be absorbed in provinces.
b) Minister must also deal with the shortage of medicines and intervene in provinces like Limpopo where clinics are without critical medication, and yet government in Limpopo comes out and says there is enough medication, which incites communities against nurses.
c) Minister must also look at and fulfil the non-negotiables before embarking on extending the operating hours of many clinics into 24-hour service centres in our facilities and ensure this extension is also done in dispensary, and through addition of nurses, clerks and cleaners as well as security because in the absence of these support staff nurses end up performing non-nursing duties.
d) Improving these will ensure that as a country we usher in NHI in an environment that is welcoming and conducive for both patients and health workers.

2. Safety and security in health facilities
a) The minister must outline the concerning area of safety in health facilities, which have become soft targets for thugs due to its slackness. DENOSA is more interested to know how will government invest in this area because outsourcing this service has proven to be a futile and dangerous exercise by government.
b) Patients and health workers have become victims inside healthcare facilities recently, and more incidents are certain to occur because very little has been done to tighten and improve security in facilities.

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